The General Manager in Charge of Administration of Printex Ghana Limited, Mr Moses Zizer, has called on the government to provide assistance to the local textiles industry to save it from total collapse.
The industry, which has gone through series of challenges, has moved from a once bubbly state to a pale shadow of itself as a result of competition from cheap pirated textiles.
Printex, which is one of the surviving companies in the industry, is also struggling to survive and is currently operating at between 25 per cent and 30 per cent capacity, three times a week.
In an interview on January 29, after a visit to the company, Mr Zizer said despite attempts by the government to revive the industry, its efforts had not yielded any results.
“The situation has not improved at all; not even as we are expecting. The recent increases in utilities have even made it worse. The increase in water is still around 165 per cent increase, we use water a lot so how do you expect us to operate under such conditions,” he said.
Industry needs assistance
The industry, he said, needed assistance from government, especially when their main external competitors had all the factors of production at their disposal.
“The industry needs assistance. If you are competing with China and they have all factors of production available and at a cheaper rate; then from the word go, you are at a disadvantage. And to compound matters, you have your designs being pirated and imported into your country to be sold at a cheaper rate,” he said.
Authorities in the textile industry, he said, had shown some reluctance in helping them to rid the market of their pirated designs explaining that, “we sense some reluctance from the authorities to let us continue with our raids. We don’t know if it is because it is an election year and they are anticipating displeasure from voters.”
Innovation at Printex
Printex Ghana Limited was established as a textile company in Accra, Ghana, and has over the years, transitioned from a small family-owned mill to one of the country’s most respected African print producers.
Although the challenges have made the company cut down on employment and operations, Mr Zizer said the company continued to innovate to stay profitable.
“We do more fancy designs, and that means we innovate a lot and that has kept us going over the years. Luckily enough for us, our core customers have stayed with us, so we are basically operating as its said in the local parlance, from hand-to-mouth,” he said.
He added, “Since Christmas, we have laid off about 50 workers, we have some contract workers, and for the fact that the market is not good, we have to dispose off their services. We are operating three times a week; we have to plan it such that we utilise the machines within three days otherwise there will be wastage.”
Ghana’s textile industry
The textile industry in Ghana was once a very booming one which employed about 25,000 workers. It currently employs less than 3,000 workers. The industry was not only a source of employment to many Ghanaians but also contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP).
In recent years, the industry has gone through some difficult times resulting in the shutdown of production lines of most of the companies in the industry. The surviving textile companies, Akosombo Textiles Limited, Texstyles Ghana Limited, Printex Ghana Limited and Ghana Textiles Manufacturing Company have equally had a fair share as they are currently striving to compete favorably with the imported pirated designs.
Most of these companies produced high quality materials, designs and very good textile brands, which sold so well on the local market as well as other markets in the West African sub-region.
Wax prints produced by these companies were in high demand on the Ghanaian market because they were used in making traditional apparels such as the Kaba and other exquisite wears.
Sadly, the local market has also contributed to the bane of the industry due to their affordability and how they are being expertly imitated to look like the original, many people, as well as the traders selling them, prefer buying them despite being aware that they are the pirated ones.
Original Articles: Graphic.com.gh